Sunday, 23 November 2008

Wolmarvision HD

Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road
No expense has been spared in this super colossal production!

Fire and Steam includes the recreation of the building of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway complete with toiling navvies, bowler hatted ganger and topper wearing engineer.

Sadly, none of these are moving and the rostrum shot is one of several taken from that fount of all railway wisdom: "The story of railways" (a Ladybird achievements book).

Alas, this excellent publication failed to survive our passion for dumbing down.
A search on the Ladybird Books web site brought the following response:

"Sorry, your search for Railways has not returned any results."

Perhaps Team Railway should invest in our future and help Ladybird to fill the gap?

Gordon is a moron

Splendid news. The Prime Minister shares passenger outrage over fares increases.

This extra-ordinary statement was quoted in Saturday's Daily Telegraph:

'A spokesman for Gordon Brown said "It is clear that passengers have concerns about the value for money they receive from train companies. It is a matter for the rail companies to explain why they have made the decisions they have made".'

The Fact Compiler is speechless.

UPDATE: The Fact Compiler is grateful to a distinguished Railway Eye reader for the following:

"The tragedy of much government mishandling of the industry is that no-one - including Atoc, which is meant to be their industry association, for goodness' sake - is willing to make a fuss about it.

"First got plenty of stuff wrong on Great Western but they also took flak that should rightly have gone to the government for the reassignment of the Class 158s to areas that just happen to have lots of Labour MPs.

To quote (in expurgated fashion) Bunk, the coolest detective in cult TV series The Wire, "Sometimes it makes me sick how far we done fell."

Quite so.

A pedant writes

Railway Eye was delighted to receive an invitation to Balfour Beatty's 100th anniversary bash.

It has a picture designed to illustrate the company's involvement in the electrification of the West Coast Main Line captioned "1969".

Alas, BB decided to use a photo of a Class 87 locomotive to illustrate the piece.

As any fule kno these mainstays of the West Coast Main Line weren't introduced until 1973.

Such lack of attention to detail will come as a surprise to many in the industry.

Bah humbug

Festive cheer!

Network Rail stations have entered into the Christmas spirit!

Here's to January's New Year Grandmother sale.

Crisis, what crisis?

Telegrammed by The Master
Anyone travelling through Kings Cross on Saturday morning could be forgiven for thinking 'crisis, what crisis?'

There certainly seemed to be no sign of passenger numbers slackening in the wake of the economic downturn.

NXEC departures were rammed, with a mid morning Glasgow service full and standing.

Arrivals were equally busy, including Grand Central's first train of the day.

No doubt the cheeky decision by all three Open Access Operators to freeze fares in 2009 will continue this trend.


Is Christian Wolmar in danger of becoming a national icon?

Wolmar's book Fire and Steam has been transferred to DVD in time for Christmas.

Does the Fact Compiler detect a faint whiff of arch-crank and poet laureate Sir John Betjeman in Wolmar's agreeable cadences?